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Market report: Banks offset mining falls

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The Australian share market is broadly steady at lunchtime as falls in mining and energy stocks were offset by gains across the banking sector.

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Investors dumped Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Woodside Petroleum and Oil Search on the back of lower iron ore prices and a stronger US dollar.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down around 0.04 per cent at 5,318.4 points at lunchtime on Tuesday after a mixed performance on major international equity markets.

Rio Tinto shares were down $1.86 to $44.88, BHP Billiton fell 86 cents to $17.55, Woodside Petroleum dropped 93 cents to $26.41 and Oil Search slipped 17 cents to $6.68.

The Commonwealth Bank was the biggest riser among the nation’s top four banks, up $1.00 at $76.78.

National Australia Bank rose 36.5 cents to $28.81, Westpac gained 23 cents to $31.34 and ANZ rose 12 cents to $24.50.

Incitec Pivot jumped 31 cents, or 10.8 per cent, to $3.17 after the explosives and fertiliser maker flagged the possible loss of 200 jobs at its Gibson Island fertiliser plant in Queensland.

Rival explosives maker Orica recovered some of Monday’s heavy losses, up 33 cents to $13.86.
KEY FACTS:

* At 1203 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 2.3 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 5,318.4 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 5.3 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5,382.5 points.

* The June share price index futures contract was down seven points at 5,306 points, with 17,122 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 1.68 billion securities traded, worth $2.62 billion.

AAP

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